Not trying to be contentious, but the fact that he promoted others 10th dan sort of bolsters my argument, which is that, if Saito had a truer grasp of the art as O-sensei taught it, then why didn't O-sensei give him the recognition he extended to Tohei, Suenaka and others? And if rank and licenses really didn't matter to him, why did he bother granting them?
Yasuo Kobayashi, uchideshi of that era and 8th dan, recalled: "About this time there were the following incidents. People came from the countryside suddenly demanding an Aikido 10th dan license. This was because in the old days, when O-Sensei was teaching in the local areas, he would notice someone who, for just a moment, seemed to understand, and he'd say, "Oh, this guy's got it. I'll give him a 10th dan."" It seemed he would easily say things like, "You're great! Let's make you a 9th dan,"" to people who took him at his word, even though they may bave been only a 3rd or 4th dan. That was one face of O-Sensei. He'd just say something like, "You're a 9th dan or 10th dan,"" When I was younger, O-Sensei told me, too, many times, that I was a 9th or 10th dan. The other uchideshi were also "promoted" to 9th or 10th dan many times."